Femi Ogbonnikan writes on the various noble projects and programmes, especially educational, that the administration of Prince Dapo Abiodun has embarked upon to ameliorate the living conditions of the people of the state
The advent of the early British Methodist missionaries in Abeokuta, Ogun State, in the early 1800s, led by late Rev Thomas Birch Freeman, played a significant role in the development of great icons and scholars who have made their marks in various human endeavours, courtesy of their early exposure to western education. The sophistry with which these great icons (in law, medicine, engineering, history, diplomacy, commerce or sciences) have emerged places Ogun State as “numero uno”. Suffice to say, it is a state that prides itself as the cradle of western education. Thus, these trends attest to a known fact that no individual or group is superior to, or can override the collective interest of the entity called Ogun State.
Subsequently, the then premier of the defunct Western Region, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, and every successive governor that had ruled the state, had built on, and also sustained the educational legacy. Over the years, the sustained tempo has shot the Gateway state into prominence as a model for others.
But in the last one decade, the story is no longer the same. Despite a total number of 17 tertiary (both public and private) institutions that dot the entire state, performances, at various contests, have been on the decline. The same story goes for students writing the annual Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination (SSSCE), who despite a huge fortune that the government claimed it injected into the education sector, have not produced corresponding progress.
To discernable minds and concerned citizens, the truth is not far-fetched. The loss of focus of the past administration in its approaches, arising from misplaced priorities was identified. The construction of 26 Model Colleges at various locations that are prone to security problems (without taking off for academic work), flaws in the curricula, deliberate funds starvation, poor working conditions of service, among others were also identified as major causes.
To stave off the imminence of doom, the governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun, has declared a state of emergency in the sector in order to restore the lost glory of the state.
While giving testimony at a Thanksgiving Service, held at SS Peters Church (Anglican Communion), Ake, Abeokuta, shortly after he assumed office, Abiodun remarked: “In my inaugural speech, I declared an emergency on education. We have the largest number of tertiary and primary education in this country. We are what Boston is to United States.
“However, the results of our students in both internal and external examinations have been on a decline, and we have to do something about this. Our approach is not going to be hazard.”
Contrary to scathing attacks coming from the opposition over the delay in forming the much-awaited cabinet, it needs be pointed out that the immediate past administration, under Ibikunle Amosun, created a lot of problems, while he resorted to all manner of dirty tricks (laid landmines) to frustrate the new administration of Abiodun last May 29, despite the overwhelming mandate the people of the state gave to the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 9 election.
The party, APC, through its caretaker Publicity Secretary, Comrade Tunde Oladunjoye, prior to the inauguration of the new government, had raised the alarm over various plots by Amosun and his lieutenants to set booby traps for Abiodun. However, the new administration, and its crack team made up of the Deputy Governor, Engr (Mrs) Noimot Salako-Oyedele, Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr Tokunbo Talabi, Chief of Staff (CoS), Alhaji Shuaib Salisu, Chief Economic Adviser (CEA), Mr Dapo Okubadejo, and other seasoned technocrats, is currently clearing all the rots the immediate past administration had inflicted on governance in the past eight years.
While the candidate of the Allied Peoples’ Movement (APM), Adekunle Akinlade, and his principal, Amosun, declined to bell the cat, despite the fact that the matter is still before the Ogun State Governorship Petitions Tribunal, another dimension has been added to the ongoing proceedings at the Tribunal. Their cyber warriors, with a screaming headline, “Abiodun Admits Irregularities In His Victory”, were on the prowl. They resorted to contemptuous acts, capable of causing incitement and disaffection. Without consulting marabouts, prior to the last governorship election, it was crystal clear that residents, traders, artisans, students, academic community, civil and public servants had already relapsed into a slough of despondency, fearing that giving another shot to a stooge of the immediate past governor would be tantamount to wreaking further untold hardships on the future prospects of the present and yet-to-be born generations in the state.
Poised to make a remarkable change and deviate from the old order, the new Abiodun administration is now on course. He has taken the bull by the horn. Reminiscent of his avowed commitment and resolve, with the mantra, “Building Our Future Together” Agenda, the governor noted: “The Agenda is a principle of development being a collective task, commitment to common welfare, equity, fairness, justice, inclusiveness and most importantly, trust, are all central to the realisation. It contains carefully thought-out elements to address the specific needs of our people. It is a deliberate agenda, not a haphazard or spur of the moment responses or even initiatives that catch the fancies of the originators.
“Our governance vision summarises the kernel of our agenda to give Ogun State focused and qualitative governance and to create an enabling environment for a public-private sector partnership, which is fundamental to the creation of an enabling economic development and individual prosperity of the people of Ogun.”
Meanwhile, in his magnanimity aimed at ameliorating the living conditions of the people of the state, the governor distributed relief materials to the victims of the recent flood disaster in Opako-Adigbe, Abeokuta, on Wednesday.
Abiodun, who was represented by his Chief of Staff (CoS), Alhaji Shuaib Salisu, at the event held at the Trade Fair Complex, Laderin, Abeokuta, expressed sympathy to the victims and said the distributed materials were necessary in fulfilment of his promise to provide succour to affected residents of the flood.
The relief materials distributed include bundles of roofing sheets, bags of cement, bags of rice, mattresses, mosquito nets, soaps and variety of food items.
With the same gesture, the governor, two weeks ago, directed the officials of the State Road Maintenance Agency to embark on palliative measures of some selected critical Federal roads linking neighbouring states.
Within a jiffy, rehabilitation of construction works began in Epe/ Ijebu-Ode, Ijebu-Ode/Ibefun/Itoikin, Lagos/Sango/Abeokuta, Sango/Akute/Yakoyo/Ojodu-Berger and Iperu/Ilishan roads in a bid to ease both human and vehicular movements.
Besides, the administration has restored sanity in the protracted crisis that engulfed the state-owned Moshood Abiola Polytechnic (MAPOLY), Ojere, Abeokuta, for well over two years, over an attempt by ex-Governor Amosun to convert the institution into a university without students and to subsequently relocate the polytechnic to Ipokia, in Ogun West Senatorial district in order to placate the people of Yewa/Awori over long decades of neglect and marginalisation, despite the lean purse of the State government. The unwholesome gesture is seen by political pundits as attempts by Amosun to pitch his successor, Abiodun, against the people of Ogun West, in case he dared attempt to reverse the decision. But this has failed. Abiodun remains a rallying point for focused and qualitative governance in Ogun state.
––Ogbonnikan is Media Consultant to the Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun.